Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Redesign of Jekyll Village Plan Drawing Early Praise; NEW FOCUS Architects Emphasize Public Areas and Beach Views. MORE SPACE Model Updates the Convention Center, Enhances Parks

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Redesign of Jekyll Village Plan Drawing Early Praise; NEW FOCUS Architects Emphasize Public Areas and Beach Views. MORE SPACE Model Updates the Convention Center, Enhances Parks

Article excerpt

Byline: CAROLE HAWKINS

JEKYLL ISLAND - An architect hired to design Jekyll Island's new convention center has kicked a few pieces of its surrounding beach village layout into some different places as well.

Early public reaction suggest the changes, which will give visitors better access to ocean views, maritime forests and public greenways, are all good.

Helman, Hurley, Charvat & Peacock Architects presented the latest incarnation of a new beach village plan during a meeting of Jekyll's governing board Monday.

The plan contains the same retail stores, two hotels, timeshare condominiums, a convention center and beachside park envisioned last fall in a design by project developer Linger Longer Communities. But it's organized to better emphasize the village's public areas, which are being constructed by HHCP under a separate publicly funded contract.

Today, Jekyll state park's entrance road ends at a convention center. In Linger Longer's redesign, it routed visitors straight to a hotel. HHCP decided both options sent the wrong message.

Now Jekyll's entry road will feed into a roundabout that overlooks a village green and a pedestrian shopping zone with a straight line of sight to the beach.

"What people remember when they come to a vacation spot is a series of visual snapshots," said Greg Bryla, landscape architect. "Probably now people will go down our main street just to see what's happening."

HHCP's design shifts the project's private components - hotels and timeshares - to the south, where they will still have beach access but are not at the center of public view.

It also enhances a beachside park at the village's north end with showers, rest rooms and public pavilions with grills.

The grassed park, bigger than in the original design, will be large enough for Frisbee, football and outdoor events and will feed into a rebuilt beach walk, suitable for bicycles and pedestrians.

SPACIOUS CONVENTION CENTER

Jekyll's redesigned convention center, also at the north end of the village, will be low and landscaped, with a small entrance feeding into the village shopping area. …

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